Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil

"Smashed" potatoes flavored with roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil
“Smashed” potatoes flavored with roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil

This is part one of a 2 part Thanksgiving special. Stay tuned for part two next week.

Easy and delicious, mashed potatoes flavored with mellow roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil, pairs well with meat, fish or poultry.

My Mom didn’t call them mashed potatoes, she called them “smashed” potatoes and I still do. I like chunks of potato for that toothsome feel. But I like a smoother or whipped version of mashed potatoes too.

Make your mashed potatoes anyway you like them. Mash them more, whip them with a whisk or a hand beater, or put the hot potatoes through a ricer if you want a smoother or whipped consistency, then add the roasted garlic and olive oil.

Any way you make them just get them to your guests while they’re still piping hot. .

For Thanksgiving this year I’m serving with my smashed potatoes with a roasted boneless turkey breast stuffed with sauteed spinach and prosciutto that’s in and out of the oven in less than 90 minutes.

It’s a complete easy and quick dinner with protein, veggies and carbohydrates all on the plate.

We’ll publish the turkey episode next week so be sure to subscribe now.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Garlic & Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Roughly mashed potatoes flavored with mellow roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Punch you spuds up a notch with this easy recipe.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetable
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 head garlic, roasted
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • sea salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut the top off of the garlic bulb.
  3. Sprinkle olive oil on the top of the exposed cloves.
  4. Tightly wrap in aluminum foil and roast in the oven until the cloves are squeezably soft, about 30-40 minutes. Set the garlic aside to cool,
  5. Put the unpeeled potatoes in a pot. Cover with water an inch above the potatoes.
  6. Boil over high heat until the potatoes are knife tender.
  7. While the potatoes are cooking, squeeze the garlic in a pot with a sprinkle of sea salt and mash it into a paste with a fork. Add the milk and mix well.
  8. Put the pot over low heat. Stir to mix well. Warm the milk but don't let it boil or scald.
  9. Drain the potatoes. Peel them when they're cool enough to handle and put them in a bowl. Mash them with a potato masher and leave some small chunks of potato.
  10. Add the milk and garlic mixture, add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and mix everything well.
  11. Put the mashed potatoes in a serving bowl and sprinkle a good, finishing extra virgin olive oil on top.
  12. Serve hot.

 

Panzanella: Summer Tomato & Bread Salad

Panzanella: Summer Tomato & Bread Salad
Panzanella: Summer Tomato & Bread Salad

A few days ago in a post on my pasta e fagioli video episode, Markus asked that I make panzanella, a simple Tuscan peasant summer salad.

I said I would when the summer tomatoes hit the farmers market. The first crop of Early Girls won’t be in for a few more weeks and the big heirlooms won’t be ready until the end of the summer. I thought I wouldn’t be making panzanella for a while.

But I couldn’t get panzanella out of my mind since Markus’ post. So when I saw a huge selection of tomatoes at Bruins Farms booth at the Ferry Building Farmers Market yesterday I had to buy some and give panzanella a go.

If you’ve been to Tuscany in the summer you’ve enjoyed panzanella. It’s made with days-old dark salt-free Tuscan bread. Recipes for this peasant dish date back to the days of Michelangelo according to Tuscan food maestro Giulliano Bugialli.

This is my modern San Francisco version. While you’ll see recipes with peppers, cucumbers and all sorts of other ingredients in today’s panzanella recipes, I keep it simple.

Tomatoes and a good crusty rustic bread soaked in the olive oil and tomato juices are the stars. My mix today is Lemon Boy, Black Zebra and Beefsteak.

These tomatoes are grown about 70 miles inland from San Francisco, in greenhouses on the farm a bit west of Sacramento where it’s sunnier and warmer than it is here in the City.

Panzanella only has a few ingredients so you have to make sure you’re using the best. These Bruins Farms tomatoes fit the bill and that makes it easier to wait for the big field-grown heirloom tomatoes later this summer.

Make panzanella with day-old rustic bread or switch it up and make it with taralli, those small boiled then baked crunchy rings. You can buy taralli in North Beach at Molinari Deli on Columbus or at A.G. Ferrari’s stores around the Bay Area or online.

The onion and basil round out the flavor of the sweet tomatoes and the juicy, creamy bread cubes perk up each mouthful with a lingering acidic vinegar tingle.

Serve panzanella chilled or at room temperature as an antipasto or as a side for grilled meats or poultry.

Find out more about New York City’s Little Italy, Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. If you’ve been disappointed with what’s left of Little Italy in lower Manhattan visit Arthur Avenue. You’ll find everything you’re looking for.

Buon appetito!

Panzanella: Summer Tomato & Bread Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A peasant Tuscan ripe summer tomatoes, basil and day-old bread moistened by the best extra virgin olive oil and tomato juices.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • ½ red onion
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 3 thick slices of day-old rustic bread
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the tomatoes into 2-inch cubes and put them in a large bowl.
  2. Quarter the onion and slice each quarter very thin and put them in the bowl.
  3. Rip each basil leaf into large pieces and add them to the bowl.
  4. Add the olive oil, sea salt and black pepper and mix all the ingredients well. Set the bowl aside. (The salt will start to draw the juices out of the tomatoes.)
  5. Cut the bread into 2-inch cubes and put them into the bowl with the tomatoes. (Remove the crust if you want but I leave it on to add more texture to the salad.)
  6. Let the salad sit for an hour or so on the counter or in the refrigerator to develop the juices that will be absorbed by the bread.
  7. Mix the salad well before serving.
  8. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

 

North Beach Parade & Fall Bounty from Italia

Cavalli Tuscan Treasures

North Beach’s Italian-Heritage Parade, the oldest in America, is Sunday, October 7. Book your lunch table now at one of the many caffes and restaurants on the parade route. They’re going fast. It’s a fantastic holiday. You don’t want to miss it. Everyone will be there.

We’re in for a really special treat this year. Piero and Lorenza Cipriani are flying in from Italia laden with bounty from the fall harvest. Santo Esposito who owns Cavalli Cafe is pitching a big tent outside on Saturday & Sunday so the Ciprianis can share tastes of their Italian culinary loot with anyone who stops by.

They’re bringing this year’s extra virgin olive oil from a small producer in Tuscany, just-picked truffles from Emiglia-Romagna and Umbria, just-milled Tuscan chestnut flour and fresh and dried porcini mushrooms.

I’d kill for a fresh porcini. I like to grill them with garlic-infused olive oil and a light sprinkle of oregano or marjoram and sea salt. It’s like eating steak.

All of the Cipriani goodies are for sale so grab some while you can. And stop in Cavalli Cafe before you move on for an espresso and Santo’s cannoli, the best in all of North Beach. I hope I see you there after our Parade lunch party.

I have a few seats at my lunch table if you want to join us. Send me an email and I’ll let you know the details and where to meet up.

Read more about my Parade experiences.

 

Panzanella (Summer Tomato & Bread Salad)

I never throw away bread. I use stale bread for my meatballs, for stuffings and for breadcrumbs. I always have some hanging around.

Day-old bread inspires panzanella, a simple summer tomato and bread salad. Some of you asked for this recipe based on the classic dish from Florence. I love my rustic version. You can get fancy and make crustless croutons in the oven but who wants to turn on a hot oven in the summer. Make it my way!

I’ve been making this salad a lot since prime heirloom tomatoes hit the market. Tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced onion bloomed in red wine vinegar, basil, cubed bread, extra virgin olive oil. That’s it. Make sure you use the best ingredients. This is the time to break out your best fruity Italian olive oil.

I only make panzanella in the summer when I can get big, juicy, ripe tomatoes. When the local heirloom tomatoes are gone from the farmer’s market, the panzanella is gone from my table.

Put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well and let the salad sit for a half-hour to create the juices that moisten the bread. How easy is that?

Try to get a little bit of everything in each bite. The tomato is sweet, the cucumber crunchy and the marinade-soaked bread ties everything together.

Serve panzanella as part of an antipasti platter or as a side for fried seafood, grilled or roasted sausage or meats. (This is the salad I paired with the fried shrimp in Sunday’s post.) Sometimes panzanella with some cheese and salami or prosciutto on the side is my summertime lunch or dinner.

Buon appetito!

[amd-recipeseo-recipe:100]

Summer Heirloom Tomatoes Are In

Caprese Salad

I returned from NYC to find the first decent crop of local heirloom tomatoes. A big, fat golden and red orb in the farmer’s market had my name on it. The ripe tomato had a sweet aroma and was just firm to the touch. You don’t mess we these babies in their prime. Keep it real simple.

Tomato and mozzarella salad is a riff on the traditional Caprese, slices of tomato, fresh mozzarella separated by a basil leaf and drizzled with EVOO.

I like the chunky pieces of tomato and smaller bocconcini mozzarella balls cubed and sprinkled with torn basil leaves, EVOO and sea salt.

I let the salad marinate for a half hour before serving to bring out the sweetness of the tomato and infuse the olive oil with the basil. All of the juices create a marinade to coat everything with flavor.

Tomato salad is a refreshing start to any summer meal or as a side for grilled or roasted sausage or other meats. Just make sure you have a good hunk of bread to soak up all the juices.

Enjoy the summer bounty. Buon appetito!

[amd-recipeseo-recipe:98]

Truffles at Cavalli Cafe Again

Cavalli Tuscan Treasures

We had lunch yesterday at Original Joe’s. (I had the breaded veal cutlet Milanese with a light lemon sauce and a side of ricotta ravioli in a bolognese sauce. Both were delicious renditions of classic North Beach Italian-American fare.)

Original Joe’s bombolini puff pastry with vanilla gelato splashed with espresso and the butterscotch pudding were tempting but we decided to walk over to Cavali Cafe. We had to have one of Santo Esposito’s cannoli, the best in North Beach and an espresso.

As we entered Cavalli I noticed a handwritten sign in the window. “Truffles, Porcini, Chestnut Flour, Extra Virgin Olive Oil Arrived  From Italia.” The shipment from Tuscany came in yesterday. I’ve been waiting for this day for over a month.

Inside were bianchetti, spring white truffles out of the ground for just 2 days, dried porcini, just-milled chestnut flour and last fall’s first press extra virgin olive oil from a small producer near Arrezzo in Tuscany.

I told you about the fall shipment from the same Tuscan couple. This one’s just a good. The spring truffles are not quite as aromatic as the fall white truffle but they are quite good and much less expensive. Santo is selling them for $1.50/gram.

Check out my pasta recipes with truffle from last fall. You can use the bianchetti in either pasta dish. Today I shaved some bianchetto atop eggs fried in olive oil. I was in heaven.

At this price I’ll use the biachetti to flavor a good extra virgin olive oil. Maybe I’ll use one to flavor some Sicilian sea salt. And if there’s any more left I’ll chop it and mix it in with room temperature unsalted butter to store in the freezer. I’ll be all set until next fall’s truffle harvest.

The dried porcini picked last autumn are big fat slices full of flavor. Just reconstitute them in hot water and you can add deep earthy flavor to many dishes.

The olive oil is emerald gold with a full buttery taste and a nice peppery finish. This is a finishing oil that I use in salad dressings and to finish a dish. When sprinkled atop a plate of pasta or a bowl of soup just before serving the olive oil adds an extra taste dimension to the dish.

Run don’t walk to get these goodies before they’re all gone. Be warned they ain’t cheap but if you can get some you’re in for a real treat.

Father and Son Reunited in North Beach

Father and Son Reunited

The white butcher paper with the funny Italian sayings covering the windows for months is finally coming down. Geppetto, North Beach’s second salumeria (Italian deli) will have a soft opening tomorrow. “God willing,” says owner Giovannni Zocco.

Geppetto (658 Vallejo between Columbus and Grant) is right next door to Zocco’s Pinnochio restaurant on the corner. So you might say that the legendary father and son are once again reunited right here in North Beach.

I’ve been watching with anticipation over the last several months as Giovanni put the place together.

Geppetto is right around the corner from the iconic salumeria Molinari on Columbus so comparisons can’t be avoided.

I stopped in yesterday to take a look. Like Molinari, Geppetto offers a selection of great sandwiches (panini) and Italian food products. What sets Geppetto apart is its focus on the food of Sicilia, Zocco’s birthplace.

Marinated octopus, scungilli (conch) and calamari salads, 2 versions of capanata (vibrant eggplant salad) and many other prepared dishes fill the display case. Your favorite imported Italian salumi (cured meats) and a variety of  great imported Italian cheeses are available too. Stephano Leone is behind the counter. Steve spent 17 years at Molinari and knows this business well. As General Manager he’s jazzed about helping Giovanni achieve his vision of a salumeria with a Sicilian twist.

Giovanni is carefully selecting an array of imported Italian food products. “Mostly from Sicily because that’s where I’m from, but from other regions too” Giovanni explained. He’ll also stock choice balsamic vinegars from Modena and a selection of special extra virgin olive oils from this year’s press just ended. I can’t wait to see it fully stocked.

The Molinari guys tell me that they aren’t worried about Geppetto. I think there’s room in North Beach for both of them. I hope that sparkle in the photo is a harbinger of “buona fortuna” (good luck) for Geppetto.

I’ll be there tomorrow. Stop by if you’re in the neighborhood.

 

Giardiniera (Pickled Vegetables)

Vegetables in a White Vinegar EVOO Marinade

I’m finally giving in to the reality that winter is coming. I think it was setting the clocks back last weekend that did it. By 5 it’s getting dark now and I’m not sure I like that.

In reaction to shorter days and winter nights I’ve been putting up marinated vegetables for my pantry. I was compelled to make vinegar peppers (peperoni sott’aceto) and eggplant caponata. And I’m about to break into the Giardiniera, a jar of marinated vegetables.

Giardiniera is an Italian kitchen staple. Make up a big batch and keep it in the refrigerator. Giardiniera is a great snack with salumi or cheese. I like it on sandwiches. It’s great on an antipasti platter or even as a side for a roboust star, grilled sausages maybe or even roasted pork.

Cutting up the vegetables takes the most energy. I gotta be honest about making Giardiniera though. You have to brine the vegetables overnight and they have to marinate for a couple of days before they’re ready to eat. Of course, if you’re impatient, you can take a taste or two in the interim.

Giardiniera

1 small head cauliflower

1 carrot

1 celery rib

12 pearl onions

12 pitted green olives

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1 small serrano or jalapena chile

1 clove  garlic

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup EVOO

1/4 cup sea salt for the brine

Remove the seeds and ribs from the red, yellow and serrano peppers. Cut into 2 inch strips and then 1/2 inch slices.
Cut the celery and carrot in quarters and cut in 1/2 inch slices.
Cut the pearl onion in half.
Cut the cauliflower in quarters and cut out the core and large stem. Break the florets into pieces about the same size of the other vegetables.
Place the green, red and serrano peppers, celery, carrots, onion, and cauliflower in a bowl. Stir the salt into enough water to cover the vegetables and pour the water into the bowl to cover the vegetables completely. Add more water if necessary.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day drain salty water and rinse vegetables well.
Cut the olives in half.
Mix the garlic, oregano, black pepper and olives in a bowl. Pour in vinegar and EVOO and mix well. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and mix well.
Spoon the giardiniera into a liter or quart jar, fill to the top with the oil mixture and seal the jar tightly.
Refrigerate for 2 days before eating.
Gardiniera will keep in the refrigerator of at least 2 weeks.

Weekend Recipe: Cioppino

Cioppino -- A San Francisco Treat

Cioppino has been on my mind lately. Some of my fans asked me to share my recipe so I just had to make it today.

Cioppino is a San Francisco original created by the Italians on Fisherman’s Wharf in the 1800s. The local story is that when the boats came in at the end of the day a big pot with tomatoes was put on the fire and the fisherman “chipped in” pieces of that day’s catch. They’d call to those who hadn’t donated yet. “Hey Guiseppe you gonna chip-in-o? Ciopinno was born.

More likely Cioppino comes from the Ligurian dialect. Some of the earliest Italians who settled in North Beach were from Genoa and other parts of the region of Liguria. They were fisherman in Liguria and they became fisherman on the Wharf. Cioppino is probably derived from “ciuppin” which in the Ligurian dialect means “little soup”, a fish stew.

This is an ecumenical dish. Sicilians later joined the Genoese on the Wharf along with Portuguese fisherman. They all added their own touches to this dish and the pot on the Wharf probably had different fish each day depending on what was left over on the boats.

I’m using local halibut, clams, mussels, calamari and prawns. Oh, and dungeness crab. I couldn’t find any in the fish markets. We’re out of season here in San Francisco. I was desperate. I went to see my friend Gigi at Sotto Mare in the Village. Gigi wasn’t there but Louisa hooked me up with a big, beautiful crab from the waters off Oregon.

This is really an easy dish to make. Saute the vegetables and herbs, add the tomato and simmer until you reach the consistency you want. I like a thicker tomato sauce but still with enough broth to dunk a piece of toasted sour dough garlic bread. Once the sauce is to the proper consistency put in the fish, cover the pot and simmer until the mussels and clams open. Top with basil, parsley, a drizzle of a good finishing EVOO and your ready to dive in.

The fish is just cooked through, tender and sweet bathed in the tomato sauce scented with onion, garlic and herbs. The sparkle of the red pepper flakes hits the back of your mouth as you swallow each bite. The zesty flavor of the sea in a bowl.

Make the tomato base and use any fish that you like. Make Cioppino you’re own. Here’s mine. Buon appetito.

[amd-recipeseo-recipe:65]

 

 

 

Cavati (Cavatelli) with Vodka Sauce & with Broccoli Rabe

Rhode Island friends are in town and we we’re making 2 classic Italian-American pasta dishes. Carol brought a cavati pasta machine all the way from Little Rhody. I’ve never seen this contraption and I was anxious to try it out.

You say cavati, I say gavadeal. These are RI and Jersey slang for the same pasta, better known as cavatelli.

Making the Ricotta Cavati Dough

Carol was the lead cook. Her cavati pasta dough is simply ricotta, milk, flour and an egg. This isn’t the gnocchi dough that is hardly kneaded so it stays light and tender. This dough is kneaded well to form a stiff, resilient dough, tough enough to be rolled into ropes and fed into the cavatelli pasta machine. It’s the fresh version of dried cavatelli pasta and it’s worth the effort. We made the cavati dough by hand but you can make it in a food processor to save time and effort. Mix the ingredients and knead it well to form a stiff dough.

 

Cavati Falling Out of the Pasta Machine

Roll out 1 inch dough ropes, feed it into the machine and crank. Out pop the cavati. The machine is amazing. Just keep cranking and in a couple of minutes you have a sea of cavati.

 

 

A Sea of Cavati

 

My mother dried her fresh pasta on a clean sheet atop her bed. We dried ours on the dining room table. Spread them out so they don’t touch one another and stick together. Let the cavati dry for 30 minutes.

 

Cavati with Vodka Sauce and Cavati with Broccoli Rabe

Carol made 2 sauces for the cavati — broccoli rabe with garlic, EVOO and chicken stock and the classic vodka cream sauce. Both were delicious. Here’s my first plate. The fresh cavati have a great toothsome feel, tender but resilient with each bite. The broccoli rabe sauce is garlicky and really rich with chicken stock flavor. The pink vodka sauce with flecks of tomato is silky and the cream mellows the San Marzano tomatoes. Buon appetitio!

If you have a cavatelli machine you are in good shape. If you do not simply roll out 1/2 inch ropes of dough. Cut the ropes in 1 inch pieces. Using your thumb press hard on each piece to flatten it out. It should curl up tightly as you press & pull with your thumb. You can get an idea of how to form these by watching my gnocchi video. The difference between the two is that you don’t want the puffy gnocchi form but rather a flat disk that tightly curls from the pressure of your thumb.

Or, just buy dried cavatelli from Italia.

[amd-recipeseo-recipe:62]

[amd-recipeseo-recipe:63]

[amd-recipeseo-recipe:64]

Weekend Recipe: Cavatelli with Arugula

Cavatelli with Arugula & Holy Oil in the Spoon

My mother made fresh cavatelli often, “gavadeal” in the argot of my southern Italian Jersey neighborhood. I’m making it with dried cavatelli from a small producer in Naples. Just 2 ingredients, durum wheat semolina flour and water. The pasta is extruded through a bronze die and dried in the slow, traditional way. The bronze die gives it “la lingua di gatto”, the rough feel of a cat’s tongue that helps the sauce adhere to the pasta. The pasta is the star of this dish so use the best from Italia.

When I lived in Rhode Island the same pasta was called cavatieddi or as my RI Italian-American friends say “cavati”. I made the pasta in anticipation of friends coming to San Francisco this weekend. Carol is bringing a “machine” from Rhode Island to make fresh cavati. Can’t wait to see this contraption.

Anyway, here’s the recipe for this really tasty, healthy and simple pasta from the southern Italia region of Apuglia. They love pasta with wild, bitter greens. I didn’t have time to forage so I used baby arugula. No garlic here! The full flavor of the al dente cavatelli  balances the peppery arugula and the grated pecorino ties it all together. A simple, pristine and full-flavored pasta ready to eat in the time it takes to boil water and cook the pasta! Olio sante (holy oil) makes this dish even better. Add a drop or two to your plate of pasta and a tear or two will follow. No hot oil no tears. I like the tears but you decide. Buon appetito!

[amd-recipeseo-recipe:61]

Note–If you can’t find hot peppers packed in olive oil you can make your own. Put a couple of small red hot peppers in a jar and cover with a cup of EVOO. Let steep for about a week. Add a few drops of the golden red oil to any dish to bring a tear or two to your eye as you eat.

Weekend Recipe: Sonoma Sole

Petrale Sole in a Caper White Wine Butter Sauce

We drove up to Sea Ranch on the Sonoma/Mendocino coast. I was exhausted from driving the switchbacks in the rain and fog and wanted something fast to cook for our dinner. The fishmonger in Gualala had some really fresh petrale sole.

I quickly sauteed the sole in olive oil and butter and poured a caper white wine pan sauce all over.

A little steamed broccoli with EVOO, sea salt and lemon was a great side.

The sole filets take on a golden crust and are flakey and moist. The edges are crisp and nutty. The caper butter sauce gently enhances each bite. The mellow broccoli spears round out the plate. A really quick and healthy lunch or dinner.

The sole recipe is below and here’s the broccoli recipe from my Vegetable eBook.

Sautéed Sole with a Butter/Caper Pan Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. sole, flounder or other flat fish
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian fresh parsley
  • lemon slices, as garnish

Instructions

  1. Put a saute pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil and butter.
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper the fish.
  3. Lightly dredge the fish in flour. Shake off any excess.
  4. When the butter is melted saute the fish until a golden crust begins to form, a minute or two on each side, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
  5. Remove the sautéed fillets to a serving platter.
  6. Turn the heat to high.
  7. Add the white wine to the pan, scrape the fond on the bottom of the pan and stir to dissolve the brown bits.
  8. Add the capers to the pan and stir until the sauce thickens, about a minute.
  9. Pour the sauce over the fillets, sprinkle with parsley, scatter the lemon slices about.
    Serve immediately.

Fried Eggs My Father’s Way

Eggs Fried in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Every once in a while when I was growing up in Jersey my father asked my mother to make a simple Friday night dinner – eggs fried in olive oil. It was one of my favorite meals. The eggs take on a lacy edge and a nutty flavor from the olive oil.

I kicked this one up a couple of notches – shaved Italian fontina cheese melted on top, garlic bread, an edible flower and baby greens salad. I just sprinkle the salad with EVOO, a syrupy Balsamic vinegar and sea salt. I don’t even mix the salad. I like surprises – sometimes you get a drop of the sweet vinegar with the EVOO and salt – sometimes not.

 

 

 

Eggs Frying in Olive Oil

Don’t be skimpy with the oil – the eggs should almost float when they hit the pan. Make sure the olive oil is starting to ripple before the eggs go in. Here’s how they should look before you finish them off. See that lacy golden edge? That’s what you want.

Once the eggs set lower the heat shave on some of your favorite cheese and put the cover on for a minute to melt the cheese and finish cooking the yolks.

While you’re cooking the eggs grill some good rustic bread, scrape one side with raw garlic and drizzle with some EVOO just before serving.

Five minutes tops and dinner is on the table.

 

 

 

[amd-recipeseo-recipe:51]

Friday Recipe: Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Photo by Flickr user der_dennis

Got a request from a YouTube fan for this recipe. It’s super easy and delicious. This sauce pairs best with a good 100% semolina bronze die dried pasta from the Italian regions of Campania or Puglia.

This is a versatile base for steamed clams, mussels or even crab. (I tell you more at the end of the recipe.)

I get cravings for this zesty, satisfying simple pasta. You can make the sauce in less time than it takes to cook the pasta. Easy to do and “sciue sciue” (very fast).

Here’s a recipe for 500g or 1 pound of pasta.

(If you’re a lover of Italian regional food, be sure to see the details of my upcoming Venetian dinner in San Francisco.)

[amd-recipeseo-recipe:17]

Photo by der_dennis

Cotechino: Traditional New Year’s Dish

Cotechino
Lentil Soup with Cotechino
Lentil Soup with Cotechino

Today, I’m making a traditional New Year’s dish, cotechino (a spicy fat boiled sausage from Italia) served over lentils. If you can’t get a cotechino you can use any Italian sausage. To poor southern Italians the lentils symbolized all the coins they hoped to amass in the New Year and the sliced sausage medallions represented opulence. A delicious dish and there’s no harm hedging your bet for what’s to come.

  • Boil the cotechino or roast other fresh sausages.
  • Saute some finely chopped garlic and onion, celery, and carrot cut in a small dice in EVOO until the onion is translucent then add the lentils and a bay leaf.
  • Add water to about 2 inches above the lentils and gently boil until the lentils are tender.

Remove the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the lentils and some of their broth in a bowl, drizzle with some good EVOO and top with slices of the warmed cotechino or roasted sausage.

Happy New Year!